Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Time Horizons: Empirical Versus Rational

As many of you are keenly aware, FLG's Time Horizons Theory stipulates that people of the Left focus relatively more on the short-term and concomitantly are relatively more empirical; People of the Right are more long run oriented and focus on the theoretical.

So, FLG needs to think about this passage from The Constitution of Liberty read by Jacob T. Levy as part of a talk:
As a result, we have had to the present day two different traditions in the theory for liberty: one empirical and unsystematic, the other speculative and rationalistic-the first based on an interpretation of tradition and institutions which has spontaneously grown up and were but imperfectly understood, the second aiming at the construction of a utopia, which has often been tried but never successfully. Nevertheless, it has been the rationalistic, plausible, and apparently logical argument of the French tradition, with its flattering assumptions about the unlimited powers of human reason, that has progressively gained influence, while the less articulate and less explicit tradition of English freedom has been on the decline.

FLG hasn't read The Constitution of Liberty. He'll have to pick it up soon. Although, he attributes the French penchant for top down reorganization of society less to their rationalistic philosophical approach and more to the hierarchical nature of the Catholic Church.

But what does FLG know? Nothing. Something to give some thought to nonetheless.


Hilarius Bookbinder said...

My knowledge of French Catholicism is historically limited, but I always took its relationship to the political/social world to be more complicated and less hierarchical than, say, Spanish Catholicism.

FLG said...


In any case, it's still more hierarchical than Protestantism, even the English sort.

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